MadMage's page

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The RP xp is more of an incentive; what I've got is a party of newer players with a tendency to ignore anything they can't hit with a sword, and I'm looking to put a bit of carrot there to get them into role-playing in general; I've also taken steps to make sure my quieter players have some time in the spotlight. For example, my last session the two louder players ended up getting drunk and were stuck in bed with a hangover the next morning, giving the quieter two time to encounter an NPC who presented a task to the party.

I will have to watch that the louder characters don't out-level the quiet ones simply by virtue of being louder naturally, however I do want some gaps in XP.

I'm still unhappy with the encounter system improperly scaling for multiple creatures and want to hear if anyone has come up with a solution. I mean, the reality is that APL doesn't even really adequately guage a party's strength, as a party of level 1 NPC clones would be a CR 5... but that's clearly too high for level 1's to fight, right?

So, I'm taking my try at being a first time DM and I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around building encounters and XP rewards.

I *THINK* I have a general concept of how the game wishes you to build them, but I don't really agree with the method - for example, if I wanted a CR 2 encounter that awards 400 xp (fuzzing number to make the point, by the way), a pair of CR 1/2 Zombies each cost 200 xp and thus make up the encounter.

The problem is that this doesn't scale properly; a zombie fought on it's own is worth 200 xp, so why should fighting two individually award the same xp as fighting two together?

You also end up with the obvious problem that a CR 7 creature is far more powerful than a CR 7 encounter of lesser creatures - the current mechanics simply don't do a good enough job of handling multiple creatures in my opinion, as simply pushing the CR up a few levels isn't really truly representative of what that party can handle.

I'm also struggling to figure out what kind of rewards to give for RP events and such; I would appreciate any tips from experienced DMs in that effect.

James Risner wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
Would a non-gamer who was not trying to parse the rules as legalese believe that a section of the book which starts with "when making a melee attack" can actually apply to ranged attacks?
Well said. +1

The real rub here is that it really doesn't matter what we think about the issue - Pathfinder (and all other P&P games) have the built in benefit of a rules arbiter in the form of the GM/DM, and as such the CRB itself even states that these are GUIDELINES on how to handle things, not 'written in stone' rules. This is less a game due to the lack of actual competition and more an experience.

I come from a background of many years of playing Magic and lots of Warhammer 40k, so when I see something called a Core Rulebook I tend to look at it from a perspective of legalese as a second nature because Warhammer is a competitive game without an arbiter and a LOT of complex rules to cover that have to be perfectly clear - I mean, would you play Chess with someone who didn't know how Rooks worked, or worse: used them incorrectly?

Bottom line is we can go back and forth on this all day and all that will matter is how the GM feels about it - personally, I think that two things are relevant when making the decision:

1. Does it make sense? Of course it does; your buddy has an opponent distracted, giving you a chance to take a gruesome attack from outside the enemy's range of vision.

2. Does it break the mechanic? Hardly. The set-up on getting behind an opponent with a ranged weapon alone is worthy of gaining some benefit (and, again, makes sense), and without an innate to-hit bonus the only thing you gain is sneak attack damage that scales to your level.

My third point is that it opens up OPTIONS; arbitrarily limiting a rogue to melee weapons only to use one of the core class skills despite it being a class that is inherently skilled with ranged weapons cuts players off from using a build they might enjoy - and isn't the most important rule to have fun?

Canthin wrote:
MadMage, if you look up flanking in the CRB, it has you turn to page 196-197 and under the heading of "Flanking" it starts with "When making a melee attack,..." this is defining "Flanking". It even has a diagram with characters in different positions to help illustrate the topic.

These sections explain how concepts work - they do not define terms. If they did, I guarantee I could break some other aspect of the rules. See, this is where you're making assumptions - the rulebook never implicitly tells you that these are anything more than explanations of how common concepts (which need no re-defining) are handled in a game, and assuming otherwise is 'making things up'.

Canthin wrote:
In this diagram, it says that Merisiel is NOT flanking the ogre. Merisiel is DIRECTLY across from Seoni, but Seoni is 5' away from the ogre. If RANGED flanking was possible, didn't require threatening, and had nothing to do with the bonus, Merisiel would be flanking the ogre with Seoni. Assuredly it should reference that Seoni is flanking (if Ranged flanking was possible) since Merisiel DOES threaten the ogre. Also, it says specifically that the ogre is flanking Seoni because it has reach. "If the ogre didn't have reach to Seoni, though, he AND the goblin would not be flanking her."

Well, this is again where you are mistaken. First off, the diagram cannot encompass all possibilities. Second, in order for Seoni to assist Merisiel in getting any benefit from flanking, she must be threatening with a melee weapon - that much is true and is even addressed in the diagram. The diagram does not, however, address whether or not Seoni gains a benefit from flanking, as Merisiel WOULD be threatening with a melee weapon thus meeting the only known criteria. The problem there, however, is that Seoni has no way to take advantage of this using a ranged weapon, making it a moot point.

Canthin wrote:

NO WHERE in any of the examples does it say anything about bonuses. It only says "IS flanking because..." or "IS NOT flanking because..."

They drew us a picture, labeled the section "Flanking", and put it in the Index, but "Flanking" isn't a game term that means something? Wow. Just wow.

I would way 'wow' to your 'wow'. Look, 'game term' is a pretty simple concept to understand: did the rulebook IMPLICITLY re-define the term as having a definition other than that used in standard language? Then it's not a game term. It's a term used by the game; the difference is pretty simple and I again accuse you of being obstinate as this is the entire crux of your argument. While the difference between explaining a concept and defining a term might be a bit subtle for some, I suspect that you're simply reaching to make the rules adhere to your ideas of how it should work. Wiggling, as someone else put it.

I will say it again, if I can make assumptions as to when the book is re-defining words I can very easily break this game; it would not be hard to just find every implied definition that suits my needs and insist that the terms work to my benefit because a paragraph was titled with them.

RumpinRufus wrote:

Ok, if the FAQ doesn't convince you, there's also the Sneak Attack ability.

Sneak Attack wrote:
The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target.
A spell like Scorching Ray is an attack (you must make an attack roll to complete it,) and so as long as the proper conditions are met, i.e., the target is denied Dex (or arguably if they're flanked) and the rogue is within 30 ft., the rogue gets Sneak Attack on the Scorching Ray. This is clear and uncontroversial, excepting the flanking aspect.

While I get your point, again, what I'm looking for isn't covered in just the 'Sneak Attack' section - what I would need is to see where spells that require 'ranged attack rolls' are actually counted as 'ranged weapons' and not just spells that use 'ranged attack rolls'.

fretgod99 wrote:

Why on Earth do you think you can't apply sneak attack on a ranged attack spell? It functions just like any other ranged weapon. Pretty much whenever you can get sneak attack with a bow you can with something like Acid Arrow. If the spell requires an attack roll, you can crit with it and you can potentially apply sneak attack with it. The Arcane Trickster capstone simply expands the types of spells you can apply sneak attack with.

Magic wrote:
Ray: Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack.

Do me a favor and read back a few posts? I already admitted that I needed to read into this more, and was not aware that rays were handled as ranged weapons, essentially.

THIS response you're quoting is basically telling the guy who just pointed to the FAQ when I asked as if it held some knowledge I had missed that the FAQ said nothing of the sort.

I'm a little confused as to what you're saying, so I'll hit this one point at a time and try to be clear.

Canthin wrote:
I was (poorly) trying to point out to the people that said "flanking" wasn't tied to a bonus, but was solely dependent on positioning. That if flanking = position, then if you can't flank, you can't be in that position. (which I find ridiculous because me and my players DO treat "immune to x" as "x doesn't effect you")

Yes, it was poorly. Even in your explanation I cannot tell how you feel this should be handled and why.

Canthin wrote:
Maybe it's just "English" vs "Game term". To me as a GM when someone says "Am I flanking" I use the game term to determine if the answer is yes or no, not the English language term of position. Is the player making a melee attack? - Yes. Is there an ally on the opposite side that is threatening the opponent? - Yes. Is the opponent immune to flanking? - Yes. Then the answer is no, you aren't flanking.

Well, as far as English vs Game Term, it's really not that hard - if the game has implicitly defined something (such as in the 'terms and definitions' section at the beginning of the CRB), then we use the given Game Term; otherwise, we use the language the game was written in.

Think about it this way: the CRB in no way defines the term 'enemy'; if I was to tell you that 'enemy' referred only to my Uncle Dave, then any rule that specifically refers to an enemy can only apply if 'enemy' is replaced with 'my Uncle Dave' and is still valid. As an example, flanking requires a target be threatened by another ENEMY on the opposite side - if my Uncle Dave isn't standing there with a truncheon, you can't flank.

As you can see, it is imperative that we at the very least agree that the standard English definitions of terms apply, unless otherwise noted. Otherwise, all logic goes out the window and the entire concept of rules is meaningless.

Canthin wrote:
I just don't understand the "Yes you are flanking by the legal English definition, but you aren't flanking by the rules because the target can't be flanked. But you can apply sneak attack because the rules only state that you have to be flanking, not that you need to have a bonus to flank" mentality that is out there.

You misunderstand. No one said that you should be able to apply sneak attack damage to a foe immune to flanking - that would be an effect granted by the flanking status, and a foe immune to such effects would thus be immune to sneak attacks derived from this particular state.

What I am saying is that the rulebook (and basic logic) strongly supports the ability to flank with a ranged weapon and apply sneak attack damage - without the melee-only 'flanking bonus', of course.

I don't understand how so many people can look at such irrefutable logic and continue to be obstinate on the matter. The rulebook is clear on this issue.

RumpinRufus wrote:
Did you read the FAQ post in the link from my post? It's literally the design team stating how many times Scorching Ray (a ranged touch attack spell) can receive extra damage from Sneak Attack (their ruling is that it benefits once.)

The FAQ post did not note a permissive state, only what happens if you did have sneak attack bonuses on magical attacks (such as with the Arcane Trickster ability).

Basically, it was telling you how this WOULD work, not telling you that you're allowed to do it. This is what hits me as weird, because you're reading THIS as permissive somehow, but refusing to see the obvious permissive statements in sneak attacks on ranged weapons that are quite clearly printed. It's willful ignorance, as far as I'm concerned.

I love this 'immunity to flanking' angle, though. Let's take that another step, eh?

If immunity to flanking means that flanking just can't happen (as in, you can't be on opposite sides of said creature), then what does immunity to cold do? Cold can't exist around me? Do cold spells just fail around me? How about snow? Does snow just... vanish? Melt?

Or perhaps immunity to X just means I'm immune to the EFFECTS of X? Because that miiiight be easier to work with, wouldn't it?

Canthin wrote:

Rules question to the "can flank without getting the bonus" camp: In an example of play, when do you check/define "flanking" as a GM?

Player: I move 25' up behind the enemy that Bork the Barbarian is attacking. I still have a Standard action left, so I attack the badass looking dude between us. Am I flanking?
GM: *looking at their positions* Yes you are flanking
Player: *rolling a d20* (11) + 9 = 20, does that hit?
GM: Yes, just barely
Player: *rolling dagger and sneak attack damage*
GM: Why are you rolling so many dice?
Player: Sneak attack!
GM: You don't get sneak attack because badass looking dude has Improved Uncanny Dodge and can't be flanked.
Player: But you just said I was flanking?!
GM: You are flanking, but you don't get any bonuses because he isn't considered to be flanked.
Player: Uh, ok then. I only got an 18 then because I calculated the +2 for flanking because you said I was flanking.
GM: You are flanking. And also you miss with an 18...

Or is it:

Player: I move 25'up behind the enemy that Bork the Barbarian is attacking. I still have a Standard action left, so I attack the badass looking dude between us. Am I flanking?
GM: Nope, Improved Uncanny Dodge.
Player: Ok, *rolling a d20* (11) + 7 = 18, does that hit?
GM: Almost!

I'm not sure the 'when' is relevant. You either are or aren't; how you handle this as a GM is up to you, really - you could be up front about this guy being essentially immune to flanking effects or you could keep quiet, let your players roll their dice and tell you only what the die result was, do the math yourself and then tell them what happens.

Either way doesn't really change the rules on flanking just because a creature being immune to it creates odd situations.

RumpinRufus wrote:
MadMage wrote:
Now, that being said, I have seen some talk of ranged magical attacks - I'm pretty sure the sneak attack rule doesn't grant permission there, so that I would deny (unless you're a level 10 Arcane Trickster).

You can definitely get sneak attack on spell attacks.

The advantage of the Arcane Trickster capstone is you can get Sneak Attack on spells that don't require attack rolls, like Fireball or Magic Missile. Or Storm of Vengeance. (I REALLY want to get Sneak Attack damage on everyone in a 360 ft. radius one day.)

Not that I want to argue two things at once, but you seem to be arguing two different directions here. The rules don't actually give permission to sneak attack with spells, unless you're counting spells which require a 'ranged touch attack' as a literal ranged attack. I'm on the fence with that interpretation, I'll admit. I'll have to read into it more.

What I am absolutely certain of is that flanking is not really defined (re-defined, as it were) in the rules. This leads to one of two possibilities:

1. You use the standard English definition of the word.


2. You assume an excerpt from the section titled 'flanking' pertaining to a bonus referred to specifically as a 'flanking bonus' (and not just 'flanking') is the game's definition of the term.

Option 2 opens the door to a whole lot more problems than option 1 does, trust me. I can break the game if you give me permission to assume terminology is defined by sectional excerpts; I've already demonstrated how using option 2 creates logic-breaking loops akin to putting one bag of holding into another.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Rules Forum

You want to see a rules forum, go look up a Warhammer 40,000 board.

You think you have rules lawyers in Pathfinder? Warhammer's rules get picked to the bone so often that playing it for a few years should be an alternative to a BAR exam.

I'm just curious why it's being argued against so vehemently; the spirit of sneak attacking isn't violated by allowing ranged attacks to benefit from them and the exclusion all but invalidates the possibility of a rogue focused on ranged combat.

Even if we took a RAI approach, it would seem far-fetched to deny a sneak attack to a rogue who took the time to get behind an engaged opponent just because she was using a ranged weapon.

Now, that being said, I have seen some talk of ranged magical attacks - I'm pretty sure the sneak attack rule doesn't grant permission there, so that I would deny (unless you're a level 10 Arcane Trickster).

RumpinRufus wrote:
Canthin wrote:
But flanking can't be a condition based on position because some opponents "cannot be flanked". Period. Stop. Full sentence. If they cannot be flanked, and flanking was only based on position, then they "could not have opponents on either side of them" which is ridiculous.

You're right, it is ridiculous, because what you are saying makes no sense. The rogue gets Uncanny Dodge, which means he can't be flat-footed. Flat-footed is a condition which occurs because you haven't yet acted in the initiative order. So does that mean having Uncanny Dodge means he always goes to the top of the initiative order? No, it just means he is not treated as having the condition when he normally would have it. Immunity to the effects of a condition is not immunity to the causes of that condition.

Similarly, the elemental does not have the "flanked" designation when he would normally have it. It doesn't mean he can't be in a flanked position, just that when he would normally be flanked, he is not treated as such.

Curiously, your explanation of how this 'cannot be flanked' is handled is exactly how I would counter this so-called 'evidence' that flanking is not a position-based state.

Look, the bottom line is that the CRB (nor any other book) actually re-defines the term 'flanking', thus the actual real-world dictionary is the source you would use.

master_marshmallow wrote:

You are making up a rule, there is also nothing that says that the attack can be ranged, and there are things that say the attack cannot be ranged.

You are not threatening with the ranged weapon, therefore the ranged weapon cannot be used to flank.

I'm not the one making up rules, you are. The only requirement for flanking is that the target is threatened BY ANOTHER CHARACTER with a melee weapon.

The rule does NOT specify that both characters have to threaten, that the flanking attack itself has to threaten or that only melee attacks can flank (though only melee attacks receive a bonus just for flanking).

What you're doing is adding criteria not specifically stated in the book and insisting that I am the one making things up when the fact of the matter is you're adding or assuming criteria not specifically stated.

Allow me to break it down:

1. Flanking is a state of attacking an enemy on both sides.

2 The CRB in no way redefines Flanking, but adds:

A. A bonus for melee attacking in such a situation and

B. That the target must be threatened with a melee weapon to receive this bonus.

3. Sneak Attacks state the target must be flat-footed or flanked; also noted is that ranged attacks must be made within 30'.

Now, I want HARD EVIDENCE in the CRB that counters this PERMISSIVE collection of rules - otherwise you're just blowing smoke in the hopes that it'll fog the issue in your favor.

master_marshmallow wrote:
Your ranged attack cannot threaten, therefore it cannot flank. Any flanking condition or bonus you gain comes from and only applies to the melee attack that you threaten with.

Where does the rulebook say that the attack I make must threaten?

The only stated criteria is that the target is threatened (which requires a melee weapon), not that the attack itself be 'threatening'.

bbangerter wrote:
You fail to understand what is being argued regarding flanking requiring melee. When you understand it you will stop making this claim regarding circular logic (you may or may not agree with the position, but you won't make false arguments).

The basis of the claim relies almost entirely on the CRB's section on flanking noting little more than a bonus to-hit that one receives for attacking a flanked target, and as far as I understand is essentially that the definition of 'flanking' is thus assumed to be this bonus, and nothing more.

My contention with this is twofold:

1. The rulebook does not specifically define it as such.

2. It uses the definition of flanking in the description for the bonus, thus creating circular logic [if you insist that flanking is no more than this bonus].

I've seen nothing in the tertiary 'evidence' to support the claim that flanking applies only to melee attacks because of an inherent bonus melee attacks receive against flanked targets, merely insubstantial assumptions based on verbiage.

RAW does not support the claim that ranged attacks cannot qualify as flanking - and thus receive no Sneak Attack damage, and RAI would be even more unlikely as the act of shooting someone from behind is entirely within the spirit of Sneak Attacks.

HangarFlying wrote:
The point of contention is whether or not you can be considered flanking while wielding a ranged weapon. I think I've pretty much put that argument to bed.

No, you haven't. You posted a lot of nonsense that all relies on the circular logic I've already demonstrated - if flanking is nothing more than a bonus applied to melee attacks then it is impossible to receive because the bonus requires you to be flanking which would then require you to receive the flanking bonus which would then require you to be flanking which would...

You see my point? Or do you want to continue being obstinate about a basic logical concept?

Flanking is never implicitly defined in the rules as a game term, either, so we must assume the given definition stands unless otherwise stated:

Flanking; (verb)

"be situated on each side of or on one side of (someone or something)."

The rules for Sneak Attacks state only that a Rogue must 'flank' the target, not receive the 'flanking bonus' specifically. This means merely being on an opposing side of your target as a friendly character. The rulebook does note that your target must be threatened and your attack cannot have a range of 0 to flank (but doesn't refer to this as the flanking bonus...).

I'm still stuck on people insisting that flanking is defined only as a bonus applied to melee attacks that are made while flanking.

It's circular logic. Consider:

I want to make a melee attack against an enemy.
I have a friend on the opposite side of said enemy*.
I check to see if I receive the flanking bonus.
The bonus requires that I flank an enemy.
The definition of flanking an enemy is receiving the bonus.
Thus I can never receive the bonus because the criteria is having the bonus.

Now, can we apply some critical thinking skills to this?

*Also, why is flanking only a complete opposite side thing? flanking should actually encompass all 3 of the tiles opposite a player.

Kryzbyn wrote:
What is flanking?

Flanking is attacking an opponent from two opposing directions.

Flanking is NOT a bonus granted to melee combatants while flanking, as this definition would require circular logic (I'm flanking because I receive a bonus for flanking!).

HangarFlying wrote:
Well, that's fine that you think that, but it flies against what the developers have indicated.


HangarFlying wrote:
Furthermore, I really find it difficult to understand how one can come to the conclusion that the second paragraph is to be completely divorced from the first paragraph and treated as a wholly separate idea, rather than the notion that the second paragraph is an explanation supporting the first paragraph.

Who said they need to be separate ideas? The point still stands if you consider the second paragraph merely a clarification of the first - an explanation of when a target qualifies as being flanked. If that criteria is met and you're attacking with a melee weapon, you then receive a 'flanking bonus' - if not, you're just flanking but receive no inherent bonus simply from the act of flanking itself.

HangarFlying wrote:
Finally, how can one be attacking a target, be flanking it, yet not get the flanking bonus?

This question is a logical fallacy, specifically 'begging the question'.

One can be flanking a target and not receive the flanking bonus by being in a position which qualifies as flanking under the flanking criteria, yet not receive the bonus because it is not a melee weapon. This is pretty simple logic to follow - my question is, how could a target be physically flanked and NOT be counted as flanked simply because you don't receive a bonus intended specifically for melee attacks? It flies in the face of basic logic that a ranged attack can never flank because we know that flanking is quite literally the act of attacking an enemy on two opposing fronts - the only thing you've proven by this point is that the act of flanking confers no additional bonus in and of itself when using a ranged weapon.

Hrm... well, this is a huge number of posts. I think many people are either misunderstanding RumpinRufus' position or being a bit obstinate about it...

As I read it, the 'flanking' section's first paragraph states that melee attacks get a bonus to hit when attacking an opponent qualifies as flanked, referred to as a 'flanking bonus'.

The assumption many people are making is that this bonus is what defines flanking, which I believe to be incorrect; it is merely the relevant immediate bonus applicable to flanking.

The second paragraph of the 'flanking' section goes on to describe how you determine whether or not you are flanking an opponent; the criteria itself is only the positional basis.

Thus, I would conclude that ranged attacks can be made from a flanking position, but confer no to-hit benefits as a melee attack from that position would - such an attack would not receive a 'flanking bonus', despite the target being 'flanked'. In my opinion, this is a case of splitting hairs; the sneak attack ability in question again states merely that the rogue must be flanking the target, and does not state the she must be qualifying for the 'flanking bonus' implicitly.

I've got two Aasimar in my latest game (not DMing), and I couldn't help but feel their +4 attribute bonus without loss and their elemental resistances are a bit... much.

They just seem poorly balanced in my opinion, and I'm curious how any DMs have handled this in their games. I have two options I'm considering suggesting:

1. The old method of raising the ECL on powerful races.
2. Requiring a -2 attribute bonus (player's choice), as well as making the Celestial Resistance ability gradual - perhaps getting a point every 4 levels or something of that nature.

I'm also considering granting a boon onto some of the races which end up with a 'balanced' (0 overall change) in attributes to match the 2 of the base races; for example, a Goblin could ignore the -2 in one of the two applicable stats of their choice.

Feedback appreciated. Thank you.

So, I would view this less from a 'can you do it' question into a more 'should you do it' question; how much fun are you (and the rest of your group) going to have if you pursue this? I just don't see one of the party members suddenly becoming a dragon as something easily reconciled, unless your character can change form back to humanoid when dealing with other humanoids (in which case, isn't Form of the Dragon enough as is?).

Personally, if I was GMing it I would save this as a 'retirement finale' for the character, making it part of a personal 'final quest' of sorts.

Hey, I read the GM section of the main rulebook! Haha...

What I'm attempting to write down is less a solid plot and more of a setting; I've roughly defined the local region as an organized, lawful collection of cities run by a council which meets in the larger central city, also the center of trade and shipping, and handles issues such as taxes, law and defense of the realm - as well as the funding of the adventurer's guild to handle issues which the city guards and army are ill-suited to handle, such as smaller bounties and tasks (also, it is wonderfully helpful at keeping a watch on them...).

For an antagonist, I'm thinking of inventing a cult of one of the evil Gods pulled from the player's guide (no sense re-inventing the wheel) as a 'behind the scenes' influence attempting to destabilize the region using a variety of methods, from placing puppet politicians into the political system to simply disrupting trade between the cities - highwaymen, goblinoid incursions, necromantic activity... anything that isolates the satellite cities and disrupts their order. Each smaller task might give the PCs a piece of a larger puzzle, hinting at some corrupting influence or giving them actionable evidence of corruption.

To this end, I'm thinking of mapping out the 'kingdom' itself, along with the primary city and some early dungeons. I know to avoid giving the players a single 'boot-print in the mud' to find which leads them where I want them to go and I imagine it'll take many a hint to actually lead to a reasonable conclusion - and trying to act without proper evidence in a lawful society might not be a great idea anyway (hehe...). I don't expect I'll need full stat sheets on every character in town, but how about names of the council members, businesses and proprietors the PCs would encounter regularly as well as some of the city guard?

Also, I find most games getting a little bogged down on sales transactions... I'm pretty sure we've been doing this wrong, but the GM we have right now is just ball-parking a price for gems (for example) and then having us roll Diplomacy checks when attempting to sell said items. I'm pretty sure this isn't what the skill is used for and it does seem to detract from the game... is it even worth it to allow the PCs to have a roll on bartering for prices when selling items? The Appraise skill seems the most appropriate for such things, as just knowing what something is worth seems an odd skill to need...

Greetings; as the title states, I am looking to give my first attempt at GMing a game of Pathfinder with 3-4 players. My familiarity with the system comes primarily from years of reading Forgotten Realms books and video games (Icewind Dale II and Neverwinter Nights, primarily), so I'm tempted to use this as a setting.

I'm thinking of 'easing' the whole getting started portion by having the players start in (or entering) a larger city and push them to join an adventuring guild, which would give them a series of small tasks leading up to more involved adventures. This would give me a very simple way to give them direction and rewards based on performance. I'm curious, though, what kind of suggestions any experienced DMs would give as far as preparations - a checklist of things to have ready, so to speak. I'm thinking of drafting simple maps of both the city and surrounding regions, but I'm not a terribly creative writer - more technically minded, as it were.

On a side note, my gaming group primarily plays Magic but has recently gotten into Pathfinder; at the moment, there are probably 3-5 'active' campaigns started amongst the group of varying sizes, most of which lack any real planning or direction. I attempted myself to organize a smaller group into playing only to have our GM's dedication to the assigned time become an issue. My idea at present is to use the adventuring guild as a method of explaining any rotation of party members between sessions, as well as introducing any NPCs which may become relevant... perhaps even giving another player a chance to DM for an evening, letting their character rest or pursue a profession in the interim. Is this a viable plan?